Law School Discussion

Options: Quality vs. Expediency

Re: Options: Quality vs. Expediency
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2009, 01:32:11 PM »
I think in your situation I would self-study for the LSAT in June, but otherwise apply normally.  If you score 170+, it is probably worth withdrawing and reapplying to new schools.  This is especially true if you are looking at part time anyway.

I don't know TX schools, but I suspect that you could do all right for yourself coming out of one of them.  If you are intent on 6 figures any time soon, you probably need better schools.  If you are looking to make a more typical legal career, I suspect you could pull it off.

I believe test scores do a fairly good job of indicating intelligence and therefore success in law school.  Other posters in this thread disagree.  (See recent "Odds on keeping scholarship?" thread if you care to see the issue beat to death.)  Essentially this means I agree with your relative who believes that a good student will probably do well even at a less prestigious school.  I believe the same student has more potential(for the reason you say) at a better school, so it depends on your career goals.

I would just like to add I think you are doing a good job of identifying important considerations. 

Re: Options: Quality vs. Expediency
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2009, 12:54:56 AM »

Re: Options: Quality vs. Expediency
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2009, 09:07:34 AM »
I'll be honest, I did not read the entire original post, and I did not read any of the responses so if what I'm about to say has already been said... well, sorry.

Retake the LSAT.  For non-trads, the LSAT definitely outweighs GPA. I say this from my own experience.

Here's the quick stats for others like me who don't want to read the whole post: 2.85 UG GPA, LSAT (Feb 08)= 157, LSAT (June 08) = 162

Although not to the same extent as you, I am also quite a few years removed from school. What you are doing right now is almost exactly where I was one year ago. I studied during the month of January and took the early Feb LSAT, debating whether to jump into the application ring so late in the game. I'm a married female who wants to start a family, so each year that school takes is a year in waiting to start a family - obviously starting early was very important to me. I scored a very disappointing 157 (I was devastated). I knew I had the potential to do much better than that. Add into it that applying so late in the game to schools not only limits where you can potentially get in, but also wipes out almost any chance of getting scholarship monies, and I begrudingly decided to re-take the LSAT and apply early in the cycle this year for the best opportunity for acceptances and scholarship.

The extra time with the LSAT paid off. Practice test scores were in the mid to high 160's (so I, unfortunately, was absolutely distraught when I got my 162 score - but I digress). I did not get my applications out early like intended, but with December/January apps and the better LSAT, I've been accepted to multiple top 100 schools, all with nice scholarships.

And the person who told you 1 year out and the school no longer matters is lying. They clearly did not go to a good school. Obviously HOW you do at the school and the connections you make matter significantly for wherever you go, but the name of that school is with you forever. I thank my stars everyday that I did not apply last year. Last year I was looking at schools like Dayton and Roger William and doubting if I would get in. Now I'm deciding between schools ranked in the 80's to 70's with respectable names and the scholarships they've given me. (ok other LSD'ers, i know you would rather die than go to a school ranked 77, but we didn't all choose studying over fun in college)   

The reputation of the school and the scholarships I've gotten are going to help get me out of (less) debt a whole lot faster than if I went through and applied last year. It sucks to wait a year, but do it. You'll be better off in the long run....especially when your long-run isn't as long as everybody elses. You don't have the luxury of taking 5 years to work your way up to making the big bucks. You need to go somewhere that can qualify you for a great money-making job right away.

So that's my opinion. Best of luck to you, whatever it is you choose.   8)

Re: Options: Quality vs. Expediency
« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2009, 09:20:35 AM »
another quick follow up.

For the OP's situation, that GPA is definitely harsh, but being so far removed helps tremendously. As long as you can show all the experience you have since then, that you've matured, etc it will help mitigate the low gpa.

and RE-TAKE THE LSAT!!  Even a few points higher will bump you into a different category of applicant, and make the adcomms take a second look at your app. And as a non-trad, that's what you need. Make them see everything else you've done and that the GPA does not portray the type of law student you will be nor does it accurately reflect your academic capabilities (assuming that it doesn't, of course).

Also, to your relative's point about the quality of a legal education... I visited a lot of law schools across the country last summer and talked to a lot of students and employees (law librarians, etc). One guy hit it on the nail for me and I saw it true at every school I visited thereafter. The "better" law schools teach you legal theory. They teach you how to think about the law and analyze the law. They teach you philosophy and theory so that you learn how to apply it. The "lesser" ranked law schools teach you HOW to be a lawyer....the classes focus on filing and the procedures of how to act like a lawyer. Of course those things are useful and needed, but you can also learn that during the first internship or clerkship you have. It's not to often you see good legal research papers coming from a Cooley grad...